I just read this story in the Washington Times. It left me speechelss at the stupidity of the subject, the vacuousness politicians and bureaucrats involved, and at the Times for wasting space and resources reporting on such meaningless drivel.

This is what goes on in Washington. To think that taxpayers are funding this type of thing is infuriating one one level, humourous on another. I am at a loss for words

Basically, the story is that the computer models were not generating the desired results, so Vilsack and the gang directed that the models be changed so the correct results are produced. It reminds me of methods used by the British climate scientists.

I have deleted some of the more fatuous paragraphs from the story.

Headline: Plan to turn farms into forest worries Obama official

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has ordered his staff to revise a computerized forecasting model that showed that climate legislation supported by President Obama would make planting trees more lucrative than producing food.

Tom Vilsack. Occupation: Computer Genius

The latest Agriculture Department economic-impact study of the climate bill, which passed the House this summer, found that the legislation would profit farmers in the long term. But those profits would come mostly from higher crop prices as a result of the legislation’s incentives to plant more forests and thus reduce the amount of land devoted to food-producing agriculture.

According to the economic model used by the department and the Environmental Protection Agency, the legislation would give landowners incentives to convert up to 59 million acres of farmland into forests over the next 40 years. The reason: Trees clean the air of heat-trapping gases better than farming does.

“If landowners plant trees to the extent the model suggests, this would be disruptive to agriculture in some regions of the country,” he said.

He said the Forest and Agricultural Sector Optimization Model (FASOM), created by researchers at Texas A&M University, does not take into account other provisions in the House-passed bill, which would boost farmers’ income while they continue to produce food. Those omissions, he said, cause the model to overestimate the potential for increased forest planting.

Mr. Vilsack said he has directed his chief economist to work with the EPA to “undertake a review of the assumptions in the FASOM model, to update the model and to develop options on how best to avoid unintended consequences for agriculture that might result from climate change legislation.”

But the economic forecast predicts that nearly 80 percent of the offsets would be earned through the planting of trees, mostly in the Midwest, the South and the Plains states.

The model projects that reduced farm production will cause food prices to rise by 4.5 percent by 2050 compared with a scenario in which no legislation is passed, the department found.

“That’s one of the realities of cap-and-trade legislation. The biggest bang for your buck for carbon credits is planting trees,” she said.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/dec/29/forests-vs-food-study-worries-agriculture-chief/

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